Mary Beth and Bayo are currently getting ready to depart for a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Rick and Sandi are currently somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, en route to Nigeria. Josh and I are here, setting up a Caring Bridge site to help keep all of Bayo's prayer warriors informed. I'm hoping to get Sandi and Mary Beth set up as co-authors as soon as they are able. For now, you are stuck with me.
If you are here, you may know some of this story already.
I will have to get Mary Beth and/or Sandi to fill in the back story later, but for now, I will start with what we know. Josh and I woke up for work Friday morning to discover a message left by Sandi at 4:30am, Minnesota time. Our hearts sank and our stomachs instantly knotted up. Calls at that time of day are NEVER good. We learned that Mary Beth had called to say that Bayo was in the hospital, and the doctor's thought he had either cerebral malaria or meningitis. They were to do a spinal tap to determine what was happening. We started praying, and we alerted our friends and other family to do the same. Soon, a whole army of prayer warriors had been mobilized
By the time we arrived at work, we were getting word that a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis was made, antibiotics were started, and the next three days would be critical. Bayo was in the ICU. Josh spoke to Mary Beth during his prep hour, and he reported that she had never sounded so distraught.... Scared. Our sister, who had walked through tragedy with countless individuals, was facing a very uncertain future as her husband was unresponsive and doctors had little hope.
A few hours later, we got a new message that sent us reeling. A diagnosis of viral encephalitis had been made. Bayo was fighting for his life--he needed a miracle. We updated our end of the prayer chain, and struggled through our day until we could get home to actually talk to each other and the rest of the family. By this time, the updates on social media had been seen by many people and we knew that many more were praying for Bayo. A med-evac was being considered, but we were not sure whether it was possible, or whether it would be to South Africa or Kenya. More prayers...
After supper, we got the most encouraging report of the day. Bayo's vital signs were stabilizing, and the med-evac would happen. Bayo and Mary Beth would go to a hospital in Nairobi while Grace, a family friend who is like an older sister to the kids, would stay home with Tobi, David, and Lily. We also learned at this time that Rick and Sandi would be able to leave for Africa Saturday morning. God paved the way for them to go. They still had current visas, tickets were available (and cheaper than the last time they went), and family and friends in the Phoenix area were able to help them make all the preparations necessary to depart on an international journey on very short notice. We were thankful for their ability to join the Oyebades. More prayers were lifted up.
At bedtime Friday night, we prayed for uncle Bayo, Aunt Mary Beth, and the kids with Evan and Marin. The worry was evident on their sweet little faces, but we assured them that God was in control, no matter what happened.... I was secretly praying for wisdom to help them deal with an outcome that did not match their request for God to heal their uncle.
We woke to another ringing phone at 4am. Oh no. We both grabbed our phones, and while Josh listened to a message from our county sherriff's department about a windchill warning (to take effect at midnight...), I checked my Facebook feed. I could hardly contain my excitement when I read Mary Beth's most recent post. Bayo had stabilized during the night, his doctors were "giddy with joy," and Mary Beth knew, without a doubt, that a miracle had happened. She had been told to prepare for the worst, but our God had provided hope where there seemed to be none.
This was great news. On our way to the Twin Cities to visit with Jason and Sonja Saturday afternoon, we got another call. Rick and Sandi were on a layover in Minneapolis, and Mary Beth had called to say that Bayo was alert. He recognized his family, and the kids were able to see him. A text message from Mary Beth moments later confirmed that Bayo was not only alert, but he was talking, and "his personality was coming through." Praise the Lord! The trip to Nairobi would still happen to continue treatments and monitor Bayo's recovery, but the journey felt much less like a life-saving mission than it did just 24-hours earlier.
Our family is thankful for so many things. Above all, we are thankful for God's provision and protection for Bayo. We are thankful that no matter what happens going forward, He holds us. We are thankful for the faithful, prayerful people who pleaded with Him, and who continue to do so. We do not know what lies ahead just yet, but we go forward confidently and in faith. God is good! All the time, He is good!
If there is news before Mary Beth or Sandi can take over, I will certainly update here. I imagine they will fill in details that I do not have. Feel free to leave messages here for Bayo and Mary Beth to read. Your thoughts and prayers are indeed felt.
Life has taken me from the Midwest to Africa. Africa was firmly planted in my heart at age 17. I realized that dream when I landed in Nigeria at the age of 26. Currently I am doing the hardest work I have ever done, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Every day is full of challenges. At times life is too painfully raw, but God reaches down to us in those times of great need and helps us to press on and offer hope.